Frontcourts are the backbone of every successful NBA team. No team has won a championship without a dominant frontcourt since Jordan‘s Bulls, and Dennis Rodman and Scottie Pippen could certainly play a little bit. The point guard craze has taken over the NBA, but when is that last time a team led by a point guard won the championship? You could argue Chauncey Billups with the Pistons in 2004, but other than that you have to go all the way back to Isaiah Thomas and the Bad Boy Pistons in 1990.
Big men have ruled the NBA for years. By no coincidence, every team on this list, other than Utah, should find themselves in the playoffs this coming season. Guard play may be more flashy, but strength in the frontcourt wins championships.
On this list, there are several teams who are bringing back the same group for another run, but plenty others that have young guys stepping into new roles and still more that made big acquisitions trying to fill holes. Some teams feature bigger guys who can stretch the floor while others feature bangers who will crush you on the boards â€“ but the best feature a little of everything.
Here are the 15 best frontcourt rotations in the NBA.
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15. UTAH JAZZ
The Jazz have one of the most intriguing front lines in all of basketball. The oldest of this starting trio is Gordon Hayward — who also plays a lot of two-guard — who just turned 23 earlier this year. Hayward made great strides in his third year in the league, posting a career-high in points per game at 14.1 while shooting a robust 41.5 percent from three. Some doubted Hayward’s athleticism coming out of Butler and wondered if he could defend, or even score, in the pros. Those questions have been put to rest after three solid years and Hayward should only continue to improve as he gets older.
Now for the young guns. Derrick Favors was taken with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2010 Draft after one year at Georgia Tech with all the physical tools necessary to be a stud power forward in the league â€“ he stands at 6-10 with a 7-4 wingspan and a 35-inch running vert. Only 56 games into his rookie season, Favors was shipped to Utah as part of the package for Deron Williams (that package also included a future first-round pick that ended up being Favors’ current frontcourt mate, Enes Kanter). Being the centerpiece for a player like Williams brings a lot of expectations, and Favors is slowly but surely filling them. He has steadily improved year by year and has put up solid numbers in the opportunities he has gotten â€“ his per 36-minute numbers last year graded out to 14.6 points and 11 rebounds a contest. With both Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap out of the equation, Favors has the opportunity to make those prorated numbers a reality. This will be Favors’ fourth year in the league, and it is time for him to show how great a player he can be.
Last but not least on this front line in Utah is Enes Kanter. Kanter has not played many minutes as of yet but has shined when he has been out there. His per 36-minute numbers are even better than Favors at almost 17 points and over 10 boards per. He also shoots a great percentage, finishing at a nifty 54.5 percent last season. The Jazz don’t have much frontcourt help off the bench â€“ unless you include Andris Biedrins â€“ so it’s safe to say the Jazz don’t have much frontcourt help off the bench. Utah has a very young team moving forward so will most likely (and probably want to) struggle this upcoming season. There will be growing pains, but these young bigs have a lot of talent. This ranking is admittedly based a lot on potential, but these two have a great chance to form a dynamic duo that will punish the boards on both ends and dominate on the blocks. If Hayward keeps improving — and we suspect he’ll be employed as a small-ball three often this year — this could be one of the best frontcourts in the whole league very soon.